AI-Driven Platform

Financial Times

The Financial Times Group and Nikkei Inc. jointly operate the corporate data and news service called scoutAsia. A scoutAsia subscription can provide real-time data, news, and context on over 800,000 companies in more than 20 East Asian, South Asian, and ASEAN countries. Through its databases, subscribers can create comprehensive corporate profiles, gain context and insights, and keep up with relevant companies.

All information in this case study is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of Financial Times

Project Objective

To deliver a simplified and beautified data-visualisation product called scoutAsia. The product uses news, data and machine learning to reveal insights and speed up investor research. It is aimed at a wide variety of users, including M&A bankers, corporate strategy teams, salespeople, and compliance officers.

Team & Role

I joined this project in its early stages to co-direct the visual design by creating a design language and coming up with a solid design system to bridge the gap between development and design. The team consisted of 1 Product Owner, 1 Product Manager, 1 UX Designer and 4 Full-stack developers and 1 Tester, and it was split into 2 locations: London and Tokyo.

Stakeholder interviews

The project began over a series of meetings to discuss roadmap assumptions, how success would be measured and business objectives. During the week, we met with key stakeholders from London and Tokyo to explore:

  1. Customer Segments & Personas: Their demographics, backgrounds and motivations.
  2. Our Design Thinking process and tools to collaborate and work with Developers and Product owners.

We interviewed 11 senior team members to answer key questions:

  1. Who will use ScoutAsia?
  2. What they will use the tool for?
  3. What are the different use cases for this user?

Key takeaways

After digesting the learnings from the stakeholder’s interview, we created two proto-persona describing the target users and audience of ScoutAsia based on the assumptions of our stakeholders. Creating these two proto-personas allowed our product team to build a shared understanding of our potential users and to begin designing and building immediately without getting overly bogged down with the details of user behaviour.

By creating these two proto-personas, we also had a better understanding of the users we should recruit for user research and usability testing. We identified the following key themes and differences for our personas:

Primary Persona

  • Comprehensive data
  • Deep dive
  • Task completion
  • Impossible deadlines
  • Timely explanations
  • Compiling detail
Primary Persona: Jennifer Teo

Secondary Persona

  • Steers and hunches
  • Macro view/big picture
  • Forming a strategy
  • Setting timelines
  • First to know
  • Summaries
Secondary Persona: Peter Bauer

Empathising with our end users

The team travelled to Tokyo, Japan in order to engage with stakeholders from Nikkei. We took the opportunity to facilitate 1:1 sessions with potential customers in Asia. Common patterns learned from the interviews provided strong rationale towards design choices on tools like the “Connections Map”, “Company Search” and “Targets List”.

Some of the outcomes based on the user interviews: Users demonstrated to be more
interested in a feature where they could see all related connections from a company.

Key learnings

A common usage scenario learned from the interviews was that most customers would likely be in a rush or commuting in a train most of the time while checking for relevant news about companies they follow and discovering new companies mentioned in the news. They would feel more comfortable using a desktop to perform advanced tasks, like accessing a company’s connections map and a company’s market comparison chart.

Design, Test, Ideate

After establishing a strong understanding of the customer base, features and business objectives, we began to build the experience and the design process started. My personal deliverables were the Design Language followed by “Company Search” and “Targets List”. The iterations of the design concept can be found below.

The first concept is based on the interviews with key team members
The first concept is based on the interviews with key team members
The second design concept is based on the learnings and feedback from the user research
The second design concept is based on the learnings and feedback from the user research
The third and final design concept was created after two iterations followed by two user testing sessions, having all the necessary and essential features that customers need in order to perform their daily tasks while using the product.
The third and final design concept was created after two iterations followed by two user testing sessions, having all the necessary and essential features that customers need in order to perform their daily tasks while using the product.

Key learnings

Interviewing potential customers and data scientists from our team while conducting competitive research on data-visualisation products helped us to organise complex data best practices. The learnings led us to our design concept, scenarios, and mockups.

Prioritising System Parts

Working closely with our in-house development team, we set the goal for v1.0 of the design system to build the foundation by creating a compressive, scalable visual language and building atomic components most often reused and combined to make user experiences. Our emphasis in this process was to emphasize displays and data collection through normalization of form controls and standardized UX patterns and best practices.

The product

ScoutAsia consolidates data from companies into one central location. It allows customers to:

  1. Visualise news from companies of interest
  2. Visualise complex connections map
  3. Save companies to a custom target list and receive news and notifications
  4. View and download standard reports and charts
Page overview containing news and notifications from companies the customer tracks, and general news from companies around Asia.
Search results page: It displays companies and their relevant news. The customer can select and add them to their targets list in order to receive notifications about any activity from the company.
One of the key features offered by the product. The connections map gives the customer a full view of the company followed by their parents and child companies.

The beta product was launched in Q1 2018 and is iterating through a series of interviews and usability testing with end-users in Asia.

Trading platform


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Taxi on demand case study is a company established in 1996 in Amsterdam and has grown from a small Dutch start-up to one of the largest travel e-commerce companies in the world. Each day, more than 1,550,000 room nights are reserved through the platform. Whether travelling for business or leisure, customers can instantly book their ideal accommodation quickly and easily, without booking fees.

All information in this case study is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of

Project Objective

Integrate an on-demand taxi service into the mobile application, providing a complete travel experience for The service aims to remove the language and currency barriers that can deter visitors from using local transport providers, and will make it easier and safer for them to experience the region.

Team & Role

I was hired as a contractor in the position of Product Designer, responsible for both the research and design. Working within an agile environment, the team consists of 1 Product Owner, 3 iOS engineers, 2 Android engineers, 1 Product Designer and 2 Testers. The team is located across London, Manchester, and Amsterdam.

In this role, I had responsibility for the following deliverables:

User Research
Conduct user research with taxi customers in the UK, and identify opportunities to understand the mental model of on-demand taxi service, and create business value and smooth experience when using the app.

Wireframe & Test
Conduct usability test through initial wireframes in order to validate our assumptions, and also to understand the user behaviour when using taxi services through

UI & Visual Design
Plan and design the “look and feel” and micro-interactions by taking into consideration the effectiveness, aesthetics, efficiency and technical feasibility of UI designs, collecting user and team feedback, and providing unique solutions to improve the creative process.


The on-demand taxi service would first be launched for English speakers travelling to Asia and later would expand its services to the rest of the World. One of the main challenges that our team needed to understanding how taxi services work in Asia. In some Asian countries, on-demand taxi services work with a POI (Point of Interest) model, which means the app gives you a pickup point so you need to walk to the pickup point to meet your driver.

We had to consider:

  1. How on-demand taxi in Asia works and what we could do to align it with business model
  2. The language barrier, as most drivers in Asia can’t speak English
  3. How to effectively show pickup point and make that easy and reliable for both drivers and users


Since Uber was launched, taxi on-demand services are becoming very popular. There is an increasing number of companies following up the trend with a similar business model, filling the marketplace, and becoming popular. To begin my research, I started to look at a few competitors, analyzing UX, user flow, UI and key features: competitors

User interviews

In order to go deeper into understanding the problem we were trying to solve, we started by interviewing a group of 5 people who had travelled to Asia and used a taxi service there. Having that aligned with the Product Owner, we created a simple set of 20 questions divided into 4 categories;

  1. Pre-trip: How they’d decided the destination and their motivations
  2. Planning: How they planned for their trip
  3. Getting around the place: What kind of transported they used, why they used it and how did they liked it
  4. Our Product: To understand what are the main influences when choosing a taxi service and if they would be interested in an on-demand taxi service from that automatically works with the suppliers

Rather than conducting the interview like a Q/A session, I wanted to get as much qualitative feedback as possible from the participants. Conversations were natural as I tried to draw out from them, that special detail to give me a new clue in how I can clearly understand their experiences and pain points.


It was an important step to learn the challenges that travellers face when using taxi services in Asia. That also helped me to identify common patterns, and categorize the type of users that I was designing the app for:

Family (no children)
Solo traveller

Service map

The first step was to plot out a service map at a high level. This allowed us to think holistically about the problem space. We constrained the flow to be no longer than 15 steps. We also assumed, based on our research the customers had already booked flights and accommodation beforehand.

Service map

Ideation workshopWireframing & Prototyping

The team generated and shared a broad range of ideas as individuals. The goal was to push beyond our first idea and to generate a wide variety of solutions to our challenge. Using the generated outcomes, the wireframes were rapidly designed in one day and made into a simple click test-ready prototype.

Crazy 8s
Crazy 8s
Solution sketch
Solution sketch
Wireframe based on the ideation outcomes
Wireframe based on the outcomes


It was important to make the research a collaborative task with the Product Owner and our partner in Asia to align interests. A simple test script was decided and created and we set the following scenario:

  1. The user doesn’t know the pickup point (default)
  2. The user knows the pickup point
  3. Pickup point has changed

User testing

Usability was conducted in order to gather insight into the “on-demand” happy path end-to-end flow. The test Helped us to determine:

  1. Do users understand how “Current Location” relates to pick-up-point?
  2. How intuitive is the UI flow end-to-end?
  3. Do users understand confirm pickup step, and is this required?

The evaluation was based on an analysis of videos from 15 unmoderated usability test sessions of the proposed end-to-end flow for the on-demand taxi app. Each usability test session lasted between 5 and 15 minutes. The tasks proposed for the user in the prototype were:

  1. Search for a given destination
  2. Book a taxi
  3. Rate the driver and the service


The participant’s general comments were that the flow was simple and easy to follow. The testing helped us to validate our ideas and answer some research questions:

  1. Do users understand how “Current Location” relates to pick-up-point?
    Users prefer clear and consistent labelling of “to” and “from”. Showing their “current location” and not the pickup spot. However, users didn’t notice the change between the two. The “confirm location” CTA seemed to work well to resolve this.
  2. How intuitive is the UI flow end-to-end?
    All users were able to Book a Taxi and complete the trip with ease.
  3. Did users understand confirm pickup step, and would this step be required in our flow?
    Some participants mentioned that having a “confirm pickup” CTA helped a lot, as this added an additional validation step that was missing from the flow.

UI & Interation Design

After digesting the learnings from the user testing, the design process started and we began to build the experience. has pretty solid design guidelines and a well-defined design language, which allowed us to save some time in small components, so we just had to focus on the features to be implemented.

Conclusion & next steps

The team successfully concluded the first phase of the project and acknowledged valuable learnings and insights from users. This project is not only about designing a taxi app but it also proposes an unconventional concept for a modern taxi app that can be used in many other cities, and also be linked with your holiday and accommodation services.

The features we designed collaborated to reduce the stress of using a taxi service, especially when customers are using this kind of service abroad.

The service is available in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and the Philippines. It offers live feeds, real-time route maps, customer services translated in 40 languages and in-app cashless payments in the traveller’s currency.